To fulfil NASA's wish for a lunar dirt bike, German motor manufacturer Hookie has created an outlandish moon bike concept. While the notion of an electric lunar motorbike may seem far-fetched, NASA tried with the concept in the 1960s.
The Dresden-based designers created the Tardigrade's initial prototype, which they say is inspired by ultra-survivalist bacteria. While the prototype has not yet been authorised for use, it is drivable and will prove to be far more advantageous than a car-sized lunar buggy.
The entire purpose of creating the lunar exploration vehicle is to reduce the cost of upcoming lunar missions' payloads. Hookie's vehicle might be a significant cost-cutting measure, as it weighs only 140 kilos, compared to the 210-kilogramme lunar buggy transported to the Moon by NASA in 1969.
"A lunar buggy occupies roughly the same amount of space as three or four Tardigrades. The weight is significantly less than that of a steel-framed buggy," Hookie cofounder Nico Müller stated.
According to reports, the prototype was developed by Russian artist Andrew Fabishevskiy in 2020 and was subsequently borrowed by the German firm to bring it to life.
The moon motorbike is constructed entirely of ultra-light metal and has a ten millimetre-thin, laser-cut aluminium frame and axles. According to reports, the frame is encased in a tube exoskeleton and coated with aluminium to safeguard it from collisions, space radiation, and the Moon's cold.
CAKE, a Swedish electric motorbike company, offered the drivetrain. Most of the company's electric motorcycles have 10 KW engines. The initial lunar rover's four 190 W motors produced just 0.76 KW of power, guessing the same powertrain was employed.
The huge airless balloon tyres needed more design innovation than the powertrain. 12 polyurethane tread modules mounted on the bike's rims were used to print them. Must a module be destroyed on the lunar surface and require maintenance, the airless tyres were designed to be easily fixed.
As NASA announced the Artemis Program in 2019, to transport humans to the moon for the first time in over 50 years, the idea of sending a motorbike to the moon is revived and the trial to trace the erstwhile efforts during the early Apollo flights in the 1960s.
NASA began testing Honda Monkeys as a viable means of travel on the surface of the moon in 1969. However, because the engineers were able to put a four-wheeled Lunar Rover Vehicle onto Apollo 15, the project was essentially abandoned, leaving just this incredible photograph of an astronaut on a CT90.
An astronaut motorbike idea by Moscow-based designer Andrew Fabishevskiy His moon-worth electric motorbike features a tubular steel chassis. "Electric suspension, in-wheel motors. That's why I utilised a lot of white and reflective materials," Fabishevskiy stated.
Riding a motorbike on the moon might be a lot of fun because there is no aerodynamic drag and just 16% gravity. Traction in lunar dust and temperature fluctuations of 500 degrees would be difficult.
Fabishevskiy was approached following the publication of his work by the people at Hookie Co, a motorbike design firm headquartered in Dresden, Germany. "In cooperation, we are developing a fully operational prototype. We intend to debut in the middle of the year," he explained.